Success Story: Liz & Blaise

To mark the anniversary of the first large group of asylum seekers coming to Brunswick last year, the August installment of our tutoring success stories series features the ELL tutoring pair of Liz & Blaise.

Blaise Phambu newsletter

Building English language ability during a pandemic isn’t easy, but dedicated learners can excel no matter the circumstances. Blaise moved to The Landing last fall, and started taking beginning level English with Merrymeeting Adult Education. By the winter, he had already moved to the intermediate class, and also began work with a Midcoast Literacy tutor, Liz Owens. In Liz’s words, Blaise began with the goal of “improved conversation.” When the pair had to move their weekly meetings online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it didn’t slow Blaise down. “His enthusiasm for and commitment to improving his English language skills has never wavered,” says Liz. “When we restarted lessons via Zoom, he was just as motivated to learn as in our previous meetings.”

Since the start of summer, Blaise and Liz have been meeting outdoors at the Landing, sitting side-by-side wearing plastic face shields. “It helps us both immeasurably to be able to see one another’s face,” says Liz. Meanwhile, Blaise’s work with Merrymeeting Adult Ed has been just as committed. “Blaise’s attendance has been perfect,” says his instructor, Lori Powell, “I've seen him grow in confidence and his English grow stronger and more fluent. He often assists other students when they need help, and has helped me with interpretation and explanation for the beginner class. I'm sure he will go on to achieve whatever goal he sets for himself.”

From a beginning student a year ago, Blaise is now setting higher goals to improve his English enough to work in a field that makes use of his knowledge of math, technology and electronics. Congratulations to Blaise and Liz, one pair of the many asylum seekers and their tutors building their English skills with Midcoast Literacy. And keep following us for more success stories from our tutors throughout the year.